- Future Cars
My Garmin Nuvi 765T GPS and why I absolutely love it
Garmin Nuvi 765T
Why I finally switched to GPS
I've been driving on and off since the age of 17 and have owned a car for the past 3 years. In all of these years, my driving has been done through google maps printouts and knowing the roads around the area.
You can call me old fashioned, but I don't believe in car luxury. As long as it has 4 wheels and an engine, its good. Yet I think this GPS really adds a lot of features to a car for the price tag of 220$!
After a while, driving while looking at the printed map became old. Getting lost became an issue. Printing maps became a hassle, especially when parts of the map were missing (I once spent an hour circling around, looking for a "Valley Spring Road", which was missing from a piece of a hastily printed map. Turns out there were 3 "Valley spring roads", parallel to each other in the area!)
In short, I switched to GPS because I can just get in the car and drive, while listening to audiobooks on my way to the destination!
The biggest obstacle to driving in an unfamiliar territory is of course the fear of getting lost. Creative use of google maps or noting down directions may help with this, but this is not always the case.
Missing a street sign or a turn is really easy in the dark or due to some ridiculously-small-lettered street signs that some towns adopt. Sure, they save on costs and don't look too obtrusive, but in many cases I have to be within 20 feet to read the street name and by then it is too late. This often caused me to drive slower than the speed limit and have a trail of cars behind me, which added quite a lot to the stress level.
With GPS, getting lost is no longer an issue! Garmin Nuvi 765 that I own can display maps in 2 levels of detail - an overhead view which can be zoomed in and out and a driving view, which shows incoming streets. I've tried to get lost on purpose and it's practically impossible. Even if I don't know the street names, I can turn on a "trip log" feature which lets me backtrack my course. This feature shows a pleasant blue line which shows how you got to the current destination and even shows where you have parked.
Bookmarks and navigation
The Garmin Nuvi GPS device is really cool because it comes loaded with points of interest for a driver. I used it to find parks, movie theaters, convenience stores, a grocery store, a car wash and of course, gas stations.
You can also bookmark your favorite locations, and even assign phone numbers to them! A convenient "home" location can be used to quickly calculate the directions home. I use very rough directions, not the exact address of my house.
A common concern of GPS owners is the stolen device pointing to the owners residence. Garmin prevents this by allowing you to assign a 4 digit pin to be used each time you turn on the device. A pretty lengthy 3-4 seconds pause between each pin attempt ensures that it will take a very long time to try all 9999 possible pins! The device can be reset at a pre-determined "Safety location"
Main screen has large icons
Voice and Keyboard
I'm not a big fan of touch screen devices, and Nuvi is not an exception. It took me a while to get used to typing the address on the screen. The device comes with a very handy autocomplete feature or lets you search names of the streets in a given town, so even if you cannot recall how a street is spelled, the device will help you.
As for the voice of the device, I was pleasantly surprised. I expected some kind of robotic "TURN RIGHT" orders, but the device came with a bunch of voices in different languages, some of which even read street names. I turned off the default "American English - Jill" voice, because that was a bit too bossy for my taste and switched it to "American English - Jack", which is far more pleasant. Jack reads street names, addresses and bookmark names in the form of "Now arriving at Walmart 2 on right", where the "walmart 2" is my bookmark name!
What it does not tell you however is the stop signs and traffic lights. I was a bit over-reliant at the GPS at first. If someone is telling you how to drive, they surely must tell you there's a red light ahead, no? Well, the GPS does not do that, causing me to do quite a few of hard stops in the first couple weeks.
Booting and ease of use
My Garmin Nuvi takes 28 seconds to boot up, load maps, pair with my cellphone and unlock the device with a pin. It takes a bit longer if I enter an incorrect pin or if the GPS "thinks" as I enter the password and misreads it.
Navigation in the car is really easy, and it seems that Garmin really polished their GPS experience. Most of the icons are easy to press, and the driving Heads Up Display (HUD) is remarkably feature loaded, it can:
- Show you turn by turn directions like a google map list
- Show speed, direction of travel, time to destination
- Display streets, intersections, distance to next turn
- Current driving speed and the speed limit on the street
My GPS is inconspicuously mounted in the corner of my windshield, adding to the available instruments on the dashboard. An extra nice feature is the automatic screen dimming after 6-7PM (the map background is white during the day, grey in the evening and black at night, for ease of reading the map).
The trip log function
Features, Features, Features!
What really sold me on this device was its use as an MP3 player for audiobooks. My car was made before the IPod came around and does not have any auxiliary ports.
I love audiobooks, and they really changed the way I approach my commute and my driving habits. While before, a 1 hour commute was a rush to shave extra minutes off that, driving while listening to an audiobook is a lot more pleasant. Plus, I stick to the speed limit more often! (Before I could drive up to 20mph over the speed limit to shave off a few extra minutes from the commute). Now I drive at the speed limit and have fun!
To give you an idea of how much you can learn, consider how I used my GPS since I got it:
Over 92 hours of driving and standing ! That's over 10 full length audiobooks that you can listen to. Think of how much you can learn!
Another cool feature is the built-in hands free headset. The quality of the reception is mediocre, but it allows me to answer phone calls in the car, which is nice. The Garmin Nuvi 765T comes loaded with a phone-related options, phone numbers of stores, etc, but I haven't explored that feature yet.
A feature that I really like is the trip log. It calculates each trip that you've taken in your car and tells you the date and distance. The GPS also keeps aggregate information about your total distance travelled, top speed, moving average, etc. I used to keep track of this information in a driving journal that I kept in my car(for calculating the MPG purposes). It is a lot of work and it's nice to get the GPS to do this for me. The Nuvi's estimation of my MPG is a bit off, because I listen to the device outside the car as well. I'm getting 29 MPG, and Nuvi tells me it's 26.
Listening to audiobooks
Is Nuvi 765T out of production?
I was very excited when I first learned about this GPS. There are 2 versions that I was looking at: 765T and 785T, where T stands for live traffic receiver.
Unfortunately, the BestBuy near me did not carry them, and the store clerk suggested that the device is out of production. I found mine on Amazon that evening for 219$, which was really good, considering that these devices cost 500-700$ not more than a few years ago!